I can always rely on someone to give me a bit of inspiration when I am struggling. In this case, my favorite yoga teacher, Olivia, gave me a quote and an idea. I began digging a little deeper as to the quote’s author. He certainly had his share of difficult struggles. He was the grandson of a slave. His family struggled, but he (and they) overcame much. He was a philosopher and educator.
His words that spoke volumes to me are very similar to the idea of quieting the chatter in your mind. In Sanskrit, Chitta Vrrti, essentially is broken down to mean “fluctuations of the mind”. The goal of yoga is to calm those fluctuations so that you can experience stillness even through struggles and challenges.
How many of you are guilty of worry – whether it is your hips, your family or your finances? I know we all worry about things daily. But the goal should be able to honor the cause of your worry, but not let it consume you. Don’t get stuck! I know I’m guilty of this. I like to micromanage every detail of my life with my trusty “To Do” list that always has a bunch of lines crossed out with more added. One of my areas of improvement this year (at least, I think so) has been being able to quiet my mind. I am by no means a master at it. I know when Olivia says, “focus on the present” in any one of the myriad of yoga classes that she teaches, I always feel like she is my old Catholic school teacher who always knew when I was being less than honest and had a way of peering into my soul. Olivia seems like she is always speaking directly to me (and only me). How did she know my mind just went to my “To Do” list at that precise moment?
But through these hip struggles, I have come away with two non-material gifts.
One – the ability to be more present with my thoughts. I have learned positive self-talk. Yes, I talk to myself. Sometimes the sound actually escapes my mind, and someone will say, “Did you just say something?” “Oh, of course, I always talk to myself out loud!”
Two – I have found my writing again. My first creative piece was actually a love poem published in Bride’s Magazine in 1988 to my husband. Too long ago to really count. I had lost my creative writing with career and kids. My creative writing was replaced by legal responses and formal writing which required APA formatting. I have not written with passion and enthusiasm for years. I began a book, but never completed it and lost interest. My writing, as Olivia, proclaimed months ago has been therapeutic for me through this hip journey. I enjoy relaying other’s stories of struggle and success. It allows me to keep mine in perspective, but it also allows me to celebrate the strength of the human spirit.
How are these two gifts related? My writing takes me into the present. I focus on the clicking of the computer keys and word choice. I don’t focus on any other worries. I am able to relegate those worries to my “To Do” list for another time.
So to sum it all up, in the words of Howard Thurman,
“There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals, so many vast impulses floating through your organism that go back thousands of generations, long before you were even a thought in the mind of creation, and you are buffeted by these, and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? How does the sound of the genuine come through to you?
The sound of the genuine is flowing through you. Don’t be deceived and thrown off by all the noises that are a part even of your dreams, your ambitions, so that you don’t hear the sound of the genuine in you, because that is the only true guide that you will ever have, and if you don’t have that you don’t have a thing.”
His message speaks to me. He is relaying, “Quiet the chatter!” “Chirrti Vita!” Let go of the traffic that has taken up residence in your mind. Allow the genuine you to surface – that hopeful person who trusts in optimism. But what he is saying to me can completely mean something different to you. What is your sound of genuine? How will you find it?